We have an immediate distrust of vegan bakeries. A craving for crusty, egg washed pastries, cream thickened custards, and gooey chocolate chip cookies is rarely fulfilled by the animal product free fare- the recipes are usually so consumed by the idea of cleverly replicating non-vegan favourites that they fail to inspire on their own.
And yet when a local introduced us to Boots Bakery and Lounge in downtown Spokane, we were immediately hopeful. The cafe (which doubles as a cocktail lounge at night!) is shabby chic at its finest. Refurbished wooden doors serve as the seating for booths pasted with newspaper clippings or painted with quirky colours. The backbar is a motley collection of vintage mirrors, and there is a tiny toy bus hanging from a string above the bussing station. With all of the charming design features by local artists and the beautiful exposed brick wall, even upon your first visit, Boots will feel like your neighborhood bakery. It is the kind of place where a child can swing from a railing.
The menu is a collection of prepared options (both classic bakery goodies as well as savory mains), and daily specials made to order. We visited when pumpkin waffles with chai butter was an option, and it was refreshing to see the waffle maker working hard at the front count, rather than in the spacious back kitchen.
The coffee is organic, sustainable, and Fair Trade, so you can feel good about your choices, as they are sourced from roasteries in Washington and Idaho. Owner and head chef Allison Collins is hard at work to change Spokane’s reputation as a fast food mecca; she fervently sources from local farmers and as a result the menu changes daily to reflect available and seasonal produce.
We enjoyed a chat with our new friend, Boot’s cook Chris Harris, who spoke of working with Allison in the kitchen. There are no set recipes to work off, they adjust based on available produce. Their busy Facebook page posts daily menu options, if you want to check on your favourite goodies before heading down.
And to be honest, we are sincerely a fan of the food. We enjoyed a deluxe no-bake cookie (chock-a-block full of oats, peanuts and pumpkin seeds, and delightfully chocolatey), a chocolate banana muffin (do you sense the theme of the day?), and a boozy chocolate brownie (a soft cake-like brownie, surprisingly enjoyable despite our preference for fudgy, dense preparations). Our samplings were enough to ensure that we will be back should we ever pass through Spokane again.
Boots has adopted vegan baking in a sincere way that will please vegans and taste buds alike. Their offerings are stand-alone delicious, and can compete with the best of them.
If you find yourself passing through Spokane, we hope you stop in for a drink. With 10 years of bar-tending experience, we are sure Alison’s cocktail lounge doesn’t disappoint!